Pros and Cons of Charter Schools: a Complete Guide

Pros and Cons of Charter Schools: a Complete Guide


As of the Fall of 2017, 3.1 million students attend charter schools across the United States. This number has been steadily increasing over time.

These publically-funded schools are different than the average public school. Since they don’t have to follow the same regulations as conventional public schools, they can offer a different kind of education. They cannot charge tuition, but they do have long waitlists and controlled enrollments.

Charter schools may sound like a better option since they aren’t constrained by conventional laws, but is this really true?

To learn more about the pros and cons of charter schools, keep reading. We can help you decide which kind of school is best.

Pros of Charter Schools

Charter schools aren’t held to the same standards that conventional public schools are. While this may seem like a problem, it could actually be great.

Sometimes, educators feel that the standards hold certain students back. This is why most charter schools are started.

Let’s run through some of the pros of charter schools.

Smaller School and Smaller Class Size

Overall, charter schools are housed in a smaller building. Plus, they offer smaller class sizes because of the smaller space.

If you have a student who has social anxiety or doesn’t do well with crowds of people, a charter school may be for him/her.

A smaller school may be easier for students to learn to navigate. It also ensures that they’ll have plenty of time to get to class.

The benefits of smaller class sizes are plentiful. Your child is more likely to thrive in a smaller class in a charter school than a larger class in a conventional public school.

Different Approach to Learning

We’re back to talking about the advantages of charter schools not having to follow the same regulations as other public schools. One of the best pros to this is that charter schools can teach differently. They don’t have to stick to common core standards or similar requirements.

Charter schools tend to have a more individually-based way of teaching and learning. This means that teachers get more time with students individually.

Quality Teachers

Charter schools tend to value teaching qualifications more than the average public school. Their teachers may have more advanced degrees or more experience.

For your child, this means that their teachers will have more to teach from their greater and better experience.

Quality is a great consideration to take into account when you’re determining which school your child(ren) should go to. It could make a big difference in their learning experience.

Fewer Discipline Issues

Since charter schools are smaller and have fewer students, they also have fewer disciplinary problems. If you have a child who loves trouble, a charter school may be a great way to surround them with good influences.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to all charter schools. Every school is different, but – overall – charter schools tend to have fewer problems in this department.

Independent Learning

Most charter schools value independent learning. In fact, many have flipped classrooms. This means that students cover the material on their own at home and do practice problems and scenarios when they’re at school.

It isn’t for everyone, but it’s great for children who want to have more control over their own learning.

Cons of Charter Schools

To give you a fair overview of charter schools, we need to cover the negatives. Charter schools aren’t perfect, and there are some cons to going to a charter school.

Let’s cover some of the disadvantages that you may encounter if you choose a charter school.

Attendance by Lottery

Because of the high demand for charter schools, there is usually a waitlist to get in. This is complicated by the fact that charter schools usually like to keep their classroom sizes small.

To help with this, many charter schools choose students to attend through a random lottery. No amount of good grades can guarantee a spot in these schools.

Transportation Issues

Many charter schools don’t have bus routes. If your child isn’t driving on their own yet, you may have to give them a ride to and from school.

Some charter schools may have made arrangements with other public schools to share rides, but this isn’t common. Talk to your local charter school about their transportation options.

More Fundraising Attempts

Charter schools tend to be more expensive to run. They put more funding into educational resources than other schools do.

As a result, they may have more fundraisers than you’re comfortable participating in. If you don’t have the extra money to give to the school, you may find these annoying and unnecessary.

Fewer Extracurricular Opportunities

Since charter schools are smaller, they tend to offer fewer sports, clubs, and other activities.

If your child likes to stay very involved, a charter school may not be for him/her. Call your local charter school to see what they offer.

Focused Learning

Because charter schools aren’t constrained to the same rules as a conventional public school, you may find that your local charter school has more focused learning. By this, we mean that the charter school may focus on a certain subject.

Most often, charter schools are focused on skills like science and math or art and music. Similar to vocational school, charter schools can help prepare your child for work after school. Having specific skills like these on a resume is extremely advantageous in life after school.

Making the Decision: Charter Schools vs. Public Schools

Now that you know the charter schools’ pros and cons, it’s time for you to make the decision between charter schools and other kinds of programs. Keep in mind that the right choice for you may be the wrong choice for someone else. Evaluate your individual situation and make your decision solely based on that.

Education is complicated, especially when new kinds of learning and teaching keep arising from different sources. To make it a little bit easier, we’re releasing articles like this.

To read more about this and other subjects, check out the rest of our blog.


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